Howard Pyle's 1903 painting The Nation Makers has been the subject of countless reproductions over the last century, such is the enduring power of Pyle's patriotic narrative. From his early years to the early-twentieth century when he dominated the field of magazine illustrating, Pyle painted almost 100 illustrations of the American Revolutionary War. A simple, archetypal and formally conventional image, Pyle's stirring reproduction of life at the front of the Battle of the Brandywine, fought in September 1777, was perhaps chosen due to the fact that Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, where much of the battle took place, was Pyle's summer home and teaching location. The coiled energy of the figures about to leap forward into the breach suffuses this work with an almost unbearable charge of intensity. A curiously apt title, Pyle's work was in itself nation-shaping. After a lifetime as a populist illustrator, Pyle's visual narratives would greatly inspire world literature, particularly twentieth-century American literature and film.
By the late-nineteenth century reproductions of Pyle's images began reaching the shores of Europe, then held tight in the grip of the immense popularity of Japanese wood-block prints. When Vincent van Gogh, himself an avid fan of Japonism, came across Pyle's work he was struct by the dramatic narrative style achieved within the confines of the frame. An hugely popular figure in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, Pyle was one of North America's most recognizable artists, achieving the status of celebrity for his captivating visual narratives then both reflected and created American history. A prime example of the slipperiness of distinctions between high art and populist illustration, Pyle's dramatic work The Nation Makers is a stirring evocation of America as it saw itself in the aspirational years before the First World War.
Important Notes About Your Painting:
If you have any request to alter your reproduction of The Nation Makers, you must email us after placing your order and we'll have an artist contact you. If you have another image of The Nation Makers that you would like the artist to work from, please include it as an attachment. Otherwise, we will reproduce the above image for you exactly as it is.